When I was a kid, my dad believed in marathon trips by car. Whenever we drove to Southern California from Portland, we get in the car and drive non-stop until we got there. I have no idea how he did it. He was an iron man for sure. One of my most consistent memories of these trips was that of the early mornings in the middle of nowhere. Probably 1 or 2 in the morning on a much less traveled road than a few short hours before, we would begin dialing through the radio to try to find anything…just anything with good receptions.
Generally, it came to 1 or 2 options between country music and a Spanish station. Neither of course worked for dad, but due to the fact he did not speak Spanish, we always ended up on country. The funny thing was that we already knew there were only 1 or 2 stations, but despite that, we kept spinning the dial anyway. The further we drove towards our destination the more options we found in different pockets of the highway. But, just as quickly as we found good reception on a channel, it too would fade away into the past like a blip on the radar not to return under the dark night sky lit up by millions of stars.
It was just another day in Atlanta, Georgia as I was walking down the long terminal to catch a flight. With the sounds of busy travelers and families coming and going, the Starbucks was filled to capacity with early morning travelers eager to get an extra jump start on their day.
Walking down that long terminal was like spinning the dial on the radio… with every step I took; pockets of different conversations came and went. Some were soft spoken and some were loud, some were plain silent, while others were distant. But, one thing for sure was that we each step and each pocket, I was able to enter the world of another person. I could feel their intensity and mood from the tones of their voice and body language.
There was the guy sitting on the corner in a white dress shirt and gray slacks talking on his cell phone in a deep New York accent to someone about promoting some concerts. Just down the terminal a few more steps was a young family of four as their one child with his feet just hanging over the edge of the seat and not at all close to the floor struggles to hold and eat his breakfast biscuit. The two parents sat and talked oblivious of the little guy and his struggles.
All along this path were different people from different experiences and backgrounds and heading to various destinations.
I wondered what channel was my frequency. And, was anyone listening in? Was there poor reception? Did they like what they heard?
It reminds me each day to tune into to those around me and listen… that may be the only time I ever get to listen to that one person. There are stories and songs all around us waiting to be heard. And with that, there is always some sort of action ready to be taken. I hope I can find their frequencies as I am traveling down the highway of life.
Until then, I will keep spinning the dial. This should be good, I have great reception… right where I am at.